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A Lesson of Brotherhood from a Muslim Man’s Hajj Diary

We arrive in Muzdalifah about 20 minutes later, of course the bus was driving as fast as a plane flies. I did not mind though, I knew I would need to rest, little did I know what would be next.

We got off our buses at the side of the road at the entrance into Muzdalifah and our hosts started laying out the carpets onto the side of the road. As our group started moving towards the area, we got split up as people were trying to find a space on the rugs to lie down.

This would be our “home for the night”, the rugs — our floor, the mountains — our walls and the night sky our ceiling. The night air feels cold, maybe because it is a desert and that is usually what the night is like, maybe because I am becoming more ill.

I make wudu’ (ablution) and join the prayer, we are praying Maghrib. There are washrooms relatively close to where we are, that has its advantages and disadvantages as well. After prayer, I spot Asif and I make my way towards him so that I can re-join my group.

As we start walking, looking for our delegation, I notice both the head of our group and Talha. They motion us towards them and we try to find a place to sleep. I wish I were not feeling as ill as I am right now, life is funny sometimes, the times when you really want to be healthy — you become ill. Well, there is a plan and our wisdom and understanding can never comprehend its divine wisdom.

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We get some packages of food, similar to what we got in the bus earlier that morning. I don’t want anything, I have the juice though. I sit and reflect on the day…

“How do you know that Allah has accepted your du`aa’s, your prayers?” As the tears well up into my eyes, I notice our group leader and I ask him this question.

He reminded me that Allah is as we expect of Him. That we prayed and asked for forgiveness and we expect that Allah in His infinite Mercy will be merciful to us and forgive us. We should never doubt that, or never expect less. I sit there and reflect on that and think back to my intentions earlier that day, trying to review if I did my best to be sincere or not.

I find a place on the rug next to Asif. Later, though, I realize that Asif is over a small depression so I trade with him. Although he was fine with sleeping there or I should say trying to sleep there, I knew he would be uncomfortable. I knew he was also thinking of me and trying to make sure that I was ok. But I also knew that he was getting ill as well. I thought to myself that “I am smaller and I can fit there”, so I convince him that the trade is fair and ok.

I literally have to try and curl up into it to try and fit so that I can try and sleep. But I do not mind because I know that I am small enough to contort my body and fit into the area. The other guys are much bigger and I know it will be a fruitless endeavor for them to try and sleep there. This gave new meaning to the phrase “packed like sardines in a can” there was not enough room to turn because someone was sleeping right next to you.

These little exercises only strengthen the brotherhood and feelings of connectedness and love that we feel towards each other. After all only brothers would tolerate to be this close to each other and try to each inconvenience themselves a little for the sake of the others.

As I lay down, I cover my face, we are sleeping on the side of the road and the buses are continuously pouring inn, there is sand and diesel fumes every where. I am still in ihram and cannot cover my head. I cannot wear anything more, so the cold feels as if it is penetrating through my ihram like a knife cutting cheese.

I sleep in spells, sporadic, the type of sleep you have when you are very ill and you can’t find a comfortable way to get some rest. I fall asleep, wake up, try to move but realize that I cant and then just lay there until the tiredness of my body overcomes me and takes me into the quietness of sleep.

About Jeewan Chanicka
Jeewan Chanicka is from Toronto, Canada, and has been involved in working with youth, education, and social services issues since 1993. He graduated with a bachelor's degree with honors in individualized studies at York University with a focus on conflict resolution and culturally appropriate forms of mediation. He has done much work with both youth and adults, especially around parenting, teenage and youth issues, and bridging the gap between generations.